As Argentina Strides Ahead, Will Its Neighbors Follow?

A year ago, the idea of Argentina as a success story was laughable. Hyperinflation was raging, army offi cers were plotting another coup, and the First Family's feuds, culminating with the First Lady's ouster from the presidential palace, were outdoing the soaps. But now, President Carlos Saul Menem is looking very much a winner. He has beaten down inflation to a 20% annual rate, from 300% in the year that ended Mar. 31. And Argentine voters showed their approval of his free-market reforms by voting heavily for Menem's Peronist Party in Sept. 8 provincial elections. "He has got a broad consensus for change," says Manuel Mora y Araujo, a Buenos Aires pollster and political analyst.

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